“Being out on the lake”: Iskatewizaagegan Anishinaabeg perspectives on contemporary fishing practice and well-being

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Bolton, Richard
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Shoal Lake, Ontario has a complex history of resource developments and policy and legislation that has impacted Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation (IIFN) socially, economically and culturally and continues to influence the community’s contemporary fishing practices. The purpose of this research is to explore the linkages between contemporary fishing practices and IIFN members’ well-being. The study employs a mixed-method approach by utilizing a combination of household survey, semi-structured and open-ended interviews with expert IIFN fishers as well as participation in contemporary fishing practices. It presents both material and non-material benefits of contemporary IIFN fishing practices. Results indicate that IIFN members actively partake in fishing activities and continue to rely on fish as an essential part of their diet. Fishing practices also provide avenues for IIFN to convey cultural knowledge, strengthen social cohesion and help articulate a sense of Iskatewizaagegan identity. As such, they are integral to the community’s physical and psychological health as well as Iskatewizaagegan culture and spirituality.
well-being, ethnoecology, fisheries, social practice